Future Combat System Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems (UAVS)

Army, October 2004 | Go to article overview

Future Combat System Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems (UAVS)


The Future Combat System unit of action (UA) is organized in combat configurations to be 100 percent mobile and completely self-sufficient for up to 72 hours of high-intensity contact upon delivery into the area of operations. Each UA echelon commander will have the combat leverage to make contact with and defeat numerically superior forces employing equal or better weapons systems. The UA brigade combined arms teams down to platoon level will possess systems that amplify their combat effectiveness: organic sensors, effects, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, and communication links at each echelon to the joint command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) system. The UA model provides a communication connectivity that enables the brigade commander to synchronize his deployed elements so that he can better shape the battlespace at the lowest levels. The UA will enable the commander to execute the battle with superior situational understanding, shape the battlefield with standoff precision fires and effects, and ensure battlefield mobility. It will maximize the effectiveness of standoff while maneuvering on a noncontiguous distributed battlefield against an adaptive threat.

The commander's requirement for enhancing surveillance throughout the UA requires a robust suite of systems. These systems are organic to the UA and its subordinate organizations, functioning under a tiered approach. UAVSs are part of this approach, enabling air-to-air, air-toground and ground-to-air teaming.

The tiered system is expressed in terms of the class of UAVS that corresponds to the unit echelon they normally support: Class I UAVS-platoon level; Class II UAVS-company level; Class III UAVS-battalion level; and Class IV UAVS-brigade level.

The Class I UAVS is controlled and operated at the platoon level within the UA and serves to provide the soldier situational awareness in diverse terrain. The Class I UAVS is deployed as a system consisting of at least two air vehicles, an operator interface and all necessary equipment for operations, transport and routine maintenance. The Class I UAVS consists of the unmanned aerial vehicles system, a support platform (legacy or future U.S. Army wheeled transport vehicle), and a command and control interface. On April 28, 2004, the commanding general of TRADOC approved the requirement to field Raven or a Raven-like capability for the modular brigades and FCS-equipped UAs as an interim capability until micro air vehicle technology is available.

The Class II UAVS is controlled and operated at the company level within the UA and serves to provide reconnaissance, security/early warning, target acquisition and designation for the infantry company and MCS platoon in support of line-of-sight/beyond line-of-sight (LOS/BLOS) and non-line-of-sight (NLOS) cooperative engagements. The Class II UAVS consists of the UAVS, as part of an UA vehicle with an on-board command and control interface. The Class II UAVS is an integrated component of the UA weapon systems. During assaults, the UAVS will be deployed or redirected in real time as required by the UA. Through UAVS control consoles, UAVS data will be linked through the existing C4I network to an extended group of users. The Class II UAVS is a vehicle-mounted system that will provide the infantry company with enhanced dedicated imagery. The Class II UAVS AV will have an operational endurance of one hour out to a range of 6 kilometers. On April 28, 2004, the commanding general of TRADOC approved the requirement to continue development of an organic air vehicle to meet Class IIUAVS requirements.

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Future Combat System Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems (UAVS)
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